Becoming and Italian Grandmother: Squid Ink Noodles with Eggplant and Tomatoes

If I had known that putting a bowl of squid ink noodles in front of my toddler was going to result in that kid slurping down the noodles at record pace, I might have introduced them a year ago.  As it stands, this was my first time using squid ink noodles.  It seemed like a box that needed to be checked in order to become an Italian Grandmother.  I did not make the noodles myself because I didn’t want to go through the trouble of trying to track down the ink when prepared squid ink noodles were available at Central Market, our local fancy grocery store.  If you’re a little intimidated by the idea of squid ink, know this:  it’s just there for the color.  A little ink goes a long way, and it does next to nothing in terms of influencing the taste or texture of the noodles.

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Squid Ink Noodles with Eggplant and Tomatoes

Yield 3 servings

8 oz squid ink fettuccine or similar pasta

1 small onion, diced fine

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bell pepper, diced fine

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2″ cubes

1 14 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Freshly shaved Parmesan or Peccorino

Cook the noodles in salted water according to package directions.  Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.

In a large skillet, saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat until the onion is translucent and softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and bell pepper and saute until the pepper is softened, 3-5 minutes.  Add the eggplant and continue to saute until the eggplant softens and begins to release it’s juice, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes with juice and continue cooking until the juice begins to reduce and the sauce becomes fragrant.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add the drained noodles and cook briefly so that the sauce coats the noodles and the noodles absorb any remaining tomato juice.  Serve warm topped with shaved Parmesan or Peccorino.

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